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Director-General supports the G8 call on Tehran for respect for human rights

03-07-2009 (Paris)


The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today expressed strong support for the statement of the G8 Foreign Ministers, who, gathered in Trieste, Italy, on 26 June, urged “Iran to respect fundamental human rights, including freedom of expression, as ensured by the international treaties it has ratified.”

Mr Matsuura voiced concern over press freedom in Iran in recent weeks. Restrictions have been imposed on domestic and foreign journalists preventing them from exercising their profession freely; a number of journalists are reported to have been arrested, access to the Internet limited and some sites closed.

Mr Matsuura further emphasized that: “Everywhere in the world, and in all circumstances, freedom of expression and press freedom are basic rights. There can be no justification to slighting them.”

UNESCO is the only United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom.